by E. A. Wilson

In that day [the Gospel dispensation] shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee: (Isaiah 26:1)

The Devil-Proof City

In the midst of the chaotic conditions which are about us, verse 3 of our Scripture text points to the infallible remedy for the unrest of all forms of human ills. In these disquieting days, we need to look at God's plan for man. Man's plans have failed down through the ages, but God has a plan, which will not fail.

Isaiah began in this chapter by describing the impregnable city, which is nothing more than real salvation, or the church, collectively or individually. When you find this city (the new Jerusalem, the Church), you will find a strong city. The people who live in it, will not be talking about weakness; they will be talking about strength, the strength of God. Armageddon is a spiritual battle, and the devil is getting blows in on God's people of which they are unaware. Whenever he can get you to the place that all you feel is weakness and defeat, you have lost sight of the strength of Almighty God.

Isaiah said, "In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city [Why is she strong?]; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks." If you find real salvation, there are some things, which cannot get into your experience. The walls of salvation are impregnable; they are devil-proof. Throughout the New Testament, we are instructed to not give place to the devil. When the devil comes up against this wall, he can go no farther. He believes and trembles as he watches the walls of salvation.

The devil is working as never before to bring the true church down from her exalted position. Christian friend, you and I are the church, and the devil is knocking on our doors individually. He is trying to dim our vision of the church so that we will claim to be the Church, while living a weak Christian life, as do the people outside the wall of this city.

If there had been anything stronger than salvation to put around us for walls and bulwarks, God would have used it. No defilement can get inside these walls; the church is a holy city. In Isaiah 62:12 Isaiah said, "And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken."

We are in a day when people like to talk in terms of plurality. Whenever anything goes wrong, they say, "It looks like we are in trouble." In verse 3 of our Scripture text, Isaiah just came from the city, down to the individual. He is not talking about keeping the church in perfect peace, but about keeping every member, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."

Peace not only is a blessing, but it is also the mother of other blessings. Peace is earnestly sought after by many men. How many millions of dollars and how many hundreds of thousands of lives have been spent through wars, trying to have peace? It all adds up to the fact that man desires peace.

Our Scripture text does not merely speak of peace, but of perfect peace. To many people, it is a beautiful dream, which is pushed ahead to some future age. However, our Scripture text tells us that God bestows perfect peace on everyone whose mind is stayed on Him; this means right here and now.

Perfect Peace Is Undisturbable and Adaptable

When I refer to perfect peace, I am referring to it in a biblical manner. First of all, we need to realize and understand that the very source of this peace determines its quality. The laws of the human mind are of such that our happiness will partake of the character of the object from which it is derived. If the object of our happiness or peace is from the uncertain and dissatisfying world, our peace will be uncertain and dissatisfying. On the other hand, if it is derived from the eternal and the immutable God, it will be undisturbable. The word perfect in the Hebrew means "undisturbable."

Armageddon is at a heated stage, and a great part of the battle is being fought every hour you are awake, right in your mind. Why? As a Christian, you are endeavoring to keep your mind on God, while the enemy is working in different ways to move your mind from the power and ability of God and get you to trust in the arm of the flesh. When he accomplishes that, your peace is marred. So when we refer to perfect peace, my friend, we are talking about undisturbed peace.

The second aspect that I want you to note about perfect peace is, its adaption to our needs. Our needs only afford the occasion for the triumph of this peace. The prophet does not identify the experience of perfect peace with the absence of loss and sorrow. This is why the millennium theory makes such a mark on the minds of men, because they think the only way you can have perfect peace is to have all loss, sorrow, and heartache removed. Nevertheless, nowhere in the prophecy does the prophet build our perfect peace on the absence of trouble, but on the presence of God. The whole idea of "peace in the valley someday" is built on a false conception. The Bible speaks about us having perfect peace right in the time of trouble.

There Will Always Be Trouble

Some evangelists will tell you that when Jesus comes into your heart, it well put an end to all of your troubles. The truth is, however, when you find a real experience of salvation, it will be the beginning of trouble. Jesus told His disciples, "In the world ye shall have tribulation..." (John 16:33b). We must clear our minds of false thinking in order to find the perfect peace spoken of in our Scripture text. Perfect peace does not mean that we are drawn from the reach of tribulation, but we possess this peace because we are drawn into close union with God.

In John 14:27, Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Jesus calls this perfect peace "my peace," and He bequeaths it to His disciples as the best legacy in His power to bestow. John 13:1, tells us, "Jesus...having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." Jesus wanted to leave His disciples the most precious, expensive, and valuable gift, so He gave them His peace, the very peace that He enjoyed. Friends can leave us houses or lands or gold, but only Christ can give us perfect peace.

I say again, this peace does not consist in freedom from assult, but this peace actually coexists with trouble and tribulation. Everyone who is truly born again is in Christ, but while we are in Christ, we are in the world. Since we are in the world, we are going to have trouble and tribulation, but Jesus said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33b).

I believe that people are stirring God's long-suffering when they say, "There is nothing but problems and trouble. I will be glad when I get out of this troubled world, then I can have some peace." What kind of a witness is that? Armageddon is a spiritual conflict between right and wrong, and I repeat, a great part of it is fought right in the mind. This is why we are instructed in Ephesians 6:11 to, "Put on the whole armour of God..." Why do we need it? So we can war against the thoughts and impressions of the devil. This is why we need the sword (the Word of God)and the Spirit.

It is sad to hear people who claim to be God's people supposedly rejoicing in the truth about the church, while they are waiting for a trouble-free age to enjoy this perfect peace. Too many today are seeking for a place or a means to be free from trouble. The devil drags those kinds of thoughts through our minds. In fact, if you do not suffer tribulation, you had better check to see if you are saved, because the devil does not trouble his own.

Thank God for a day which is coming when we will be free from trouble, but I am talking about a song, which we do not have to wait until we get to Heaven to sing. This song is a song which will be sung in the land of Judah (the Church). The literal land of Judah will be gone when Jesus comes again; there will not be any terra firma on which to walk. This song is to be sung right in this day and time.

We are living in a world, which is crying "peace and safety" and cannot give either one. However, we can have perfect peace, and keep it undisturbed, if we will obey God's eternal Word and meet the conditions of it. Friend, there is good news in the midst of all the tribulation and sorrow: We can have perfect peace. There is only one "if" to it: if we keep our minds stayed on God.

Holiness Is Necessary for Perfect Peace

What is Christ's peace? First of all, this is not the peace which comes by repentance and forgiveness of sins. When Jesus talked about "His peace," He was not referring to a peace which came by reconciliation, because He was never at variance with God. When Jesus said "my peace," He meant the mental peace which flows from living in perfect harmony with the divine will of God. People who do not believe and practice holiness will never know anything about this perfect peace. They prove that they do not have it because they expect to have it in a millennium. [ Perhaps, a more accurate comment would be, they don't perfectly understand the meaning or nature of perfect peace(?). *S* ]

Isaiah said, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee..." Such peace comes to us only through the educational power of Christ. Please allow me to clarify that statement: The more we obey, the more explicit will be our submission to God. The greater our submission is to God, the deeper and more perfect will be our peace. Perfect peace is not just a certain degree of peace, but an undisturbed peace.

Let us consider the people who lived in the days of Noah and Lot. We could name many instances where they were in perfect peace as far as their feelings were concerned, but in that very hour, God brought destruction upon them. Paul said that the same conditions would exist in our day and time. First Thessalonians 5:3 tells us, "For when they shall say, Peace and safety: then sudden destruction cometh upon them..."

We agree that repentance and reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ is essential to the primary conditions for perfect peace. Yet, my friend, perfect peace is not always the possession of those who have met these conditions. In other words, there are people who have been reconciled, but they have not been kept in perfect peace. Perfect peace only comes by living in perfect harmony with the divine will of God.

The powers of evil are working as never before, trying to get us to compromise on this or that point and make us feel that we can still be right with God. Nevertheless, Isaiah tells us that in order to have perfect peace, we must keep our minds stayed on God. Too many who enjoyed peace by being justified before God are not able to retain perfect peace, because they have not learned to 'stay their minds' on God.

When your peace is disturbed, it is because your hopes and trusts are not exclusively in God. Many other things are failing us on every side, but God does not fail. People need to get past the elementary stage of their Christian experience and learn to put their trust in God and in Him alone.

The Divine Holdfast

Too many people are blown about by the winds of circumstances: their joy, their peace, and their victory all rest on the direction the wind is blowing. Some men's lives are directed by gusts of passion or shaped by accidents; their lives are jerking like a ship with no one at the helm. If our lives are to be steadied, there not only must be a strong hand at the tiller, but there must also be an outward object, which serves as our aim. No man can steady his life except by clinging to a holdfast outside of himself. Far too many, look to the fluctuation and the fleetingness of fellow creatures, but only those who 'stay themselves upon God,' find perfect peace.

Let us read Isaiah 26:4, "Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." This metaphor needs no explanation. Here is an unchangeable defense in which we can place our trust and have peace. Sometimes, I have asked people how they were getting along, and they said, "Pretty good, under the circumstances." What are you doing under the circumstances? You are supposed to be on top of them.

We sing, "I am reigning, sweetly reigning [that is, when things are not reigning over us], far above this world of strife; In my blessed loving Savior, I am reigning in this life." The circumstances may be adverse, but we can possess a tranquility of soul, which is undisturbable, IF we will keep our minds stayed on God. Someone may ask, "When the devil comes around and says, "There is no way out," what are we supposed to tell him? Shout one thing: GOD!

We read in 2 Corinthians 4:4-10: "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

"But we have this treasure in earthen [weak, frail] vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." As long as your sufficiency is in God, all men may cast you down, but you are not truly cast down or forsaken. Why? There is One who will never cast you down, leave you, or forsake you. God will never fail you.

Rejoice in Hope

Paul said in Romans 5:1-6: "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access [He had been talking about Abraham who was justified by faith, but you and I have an access since Jesus died that Abraham did not have.] by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God [ What does it mean to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God? Friend, if we are sold out to God and living for Him, it did not come by accident. The devil cannot tempt us or lay a sprig in our way without God giving him the authority to do so. This is why Paul could say, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28) ].

"And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope [The reason so many are hopeless today is because they are not willing to experience some things. Only experience produces hope. There is no other way to get it. We must allow God to take us through some things. It will not hurt us if we are a sold-out child of God; it will work hope.].

"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us [Hope maketh not ashamed because of the sufficiency within the object of our hope. Many times, people are hopeless and they are ashamed because they are afraid to put their trust in God. But hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God has already caused Him to give the best He has.]. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."

When we were bound by the fetters of sin, we just had to give up unreservedly and set our minds on God so that we could be saved. We must keep that same attitude in order to have perfect peace every day. Peace, like every other Christian grace and holy virtue, is beyond the reach of the natural; it is supernatural. The child of God who stays calm and true in the midst of trouble, excites the wonder of this old world. According to our Scripture text, such quietness and sweetness of soul is not the result of temperament or training; it is the work of God.

Friend, we must throw our excuses 'out the window,' because they will not stand up to the Word of God. We have a strong city; God has appointed salvation for walls and bulwarks. God has not appointed us unto destruction, but unto salvation. Whether or not we have peace may not mean so much to us alone, but it will affect everything about our witness and our influence.

"Rejoice in the Lord Alway"

Holding the thought that the prophet said, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee," let us read how we may keep our minds stayed on God. Philippians 4:4, tells us, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." Paul had this experience that I am talking about. He was not just in jail; he was down in a dungeon, in a damp basement and all alone.

He began the first chapter by telling the Philippian brethren, "The things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel" (Philippians 1:12). He believed that all things work together for good. He knew that he was in jail for the glory of God. There were some captains and guards in the palace, who had never heard about salvation, so God used Paul to take the Gospel to them.

Therefore, Paul could say, "Rejoice in the Lord alway..." The word alway means, while you are having your ups and while you are having your downs. Someone may say, "Brother, you cannot rejoice in the Lord when circumstances are going bad." You can, if your rejoicing is in the Lord. If you are just rejoicing in the blessings of the Lord, when the blessings stop, your rejoicing will also stop. On the other hand, if you are rejoicing in the Blesser, and He is not blessing, but He is still there; you can still rejoice in the Lord.

That is why Habakkuk could say: "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Habakkuk 3:17-18). His mind was stayed on God, and the fluctuation of circumstances could not change his relationship with God one bit.

Let us read Philippians 4:5, "Let your moderation [ your yieldingness] be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand." We have a Friend in whom we can trust. If we are living for God, He is at hand. It is sad to say, but the enemy so works on people's minds that they will crawl right over Jesus and try to get help somewhere else.

Verses 6-7 tells us: "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing [everything] by prayer and supplication [There is a reason why more people do not have unfurled, undisturbed peace. It is still the little foxes that spoil the vine, and it is still the little things that spoil the peace.] with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God [This is not peace with God; this is the peace of God, the kind of peace Jesus had.], which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Allowing God to Have His Rightful Position

You are not going to forget and wander away from God, if, in your every move, you consider Him. We are living in an age when people have categorized their lives. They run there business life, and they also pattern their own social life. Then, they have a little corner of their life, which they call the 'religious sphere,' and they try to give God His rightful place there. Friend, we are only going to keep our minds stayed on God, if we allow Him to have His rightful position and let Him be God in every aspect of our lives.

Let us read Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

If we are going to keep our minds on God, we must bring God into our daily life in the things that we need and ask for. Secondly, if we are going to keep our minds stayed on God, we must think on things, which are honest, true, and upright, which have strength in them. You cannot get truth out of the newspaper, because much(?) of it is not true. You cannot get it out of some of the magazines coming into your home, because much(?) of those are not honest or of a good report.

Where are we to find the things, which are honest and true and of a good report? David said: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the unglodly...But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night" (Psalm 1:1-2).

The Gospel is fair and God is understanding. Certainly, God knows that you have to put your mind to work at different things. You must have you mind on your job or you might get hurt. But when your mind is freed from the cares of life, you cannot have perfect peace by lying in bed and reading something that ya 'ought not.' *S*

Even the songs were different when I was a boy, than they are today. Those songs used to have some principle about them. They taught people to be honest and that sin would find them out. That is a lot different from much(?) of today's songs. They are different because of the inspiration(?), the spirit(?) that is behind them. Surely we all know that our adversary would like to entertain us and get our minds away from that which is good. And we know he will make an 'inroad' right there, if we 'give place' to him.

Ultimate Security

In the face of all this, our Scripture text says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Ultimate security is in the faithfulness of God. The peace in which a believer is kept, is perfect peace. It is God's peace; God is the object and the source of it.

God keeps us in perfect peace by the deliverence He works for us from time to time. Saint of God, when Paul talked about thinking on things which are true and virtuous, it is for a reason. God has given us memories for a reason. We can bring to remembrance, if we have lived very long, some places where God has moved in a definite manner in our lives.

The enemy would like to hide these blessed memories and cause us to only think about the dark places and the terrible reverses in our lives. Our memory is a divine treasure of the house of divine faithfulness and mercy, out of which our souls are fed and sustained in the seasons of famine and danger which befall us. Friend, it is biblical structure, which we must never forget. God gave us a memory for a reason. When we are in the hard places, God expects us to think upon His faithfulness.

When David met Goliath, he used his memory. He could remember the day he slew the lion and the day he killed the bear. He knew the same God who gave him strength to overcome the lion and the bear would give him victory over Goliath. He kept his mind stayed on God.

The Apostle Paul tells us the same thing in 2 Timothy 4:16-17: "At my first answer no man stood with me [You can stand alone. I believe in unity, but real Bible unity comes about because of men and women who take an individual stand in their own hearts before God and stand alone, together. That is real unity.], but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion." Paul used memory to help himself. He was in jail again, writing to a young minister, Timothy, his son in the Gospel.

He was doing his best to encourage Timothy. He told him of when he had to stand alone, and of how the Lord had delivered him. He could write to Timothy and say: "The Lord stood with me...and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (verses 17-18).

Our Scripture text says, "Thou wilt keep him [or her] in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he [or she] trusteth in thee." The fourth verse says, "Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."

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